The beet has been in the Greek Diet all the way back to ancient times. Apollo was offered beets and was told they were worth their weight in silver. They also were worshipped by the Olympians for their nutritional content. Beet juice was considered an aphrodisiac to the Greeks and Romans. According to Mythology, Aphrodite ate beets to retain her beauty, and if a couple ate from the same beet they would fall in love.
In the Mediterranean diet beets are a standard vegetable at the dinner table. Commonly know as the “garden beet” this firm, round root vegetable has leafy green tops, which are also edible and highly nutritious. Beets are mostly found red in the markets however, if you’re adventuresome the farmer’s markets may have yellow-striped and orange beets. The most beautiful is the “Chioggia” also called candy cane, for it’s concentric rings of red and white. Beets are year-around and should be chosen by their firmness and smooth skins. I buy my beets with the leaves attached so I may boil the greens and eat them as a side similar to spinach.
Beets are high in Vitamin C, Iron, and Magnesium. They’re wonderful for their dietary fiber, Folate, Potassium and Manganese.
Beets need to be scrubbed and washed to remove all dirt and the leaves and roots removed before cooking. This raw salad is the perfect accompaniment to any dish.
Beets can be cooked in various ways:
- Roasted in the oven – scrubbed and washed, leaves removed, with a sprinkle of olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast at in 400 degree oven for 40-50 min. Peel after roasting.
- Boiled – Fill a large pot with water, leaves removed, bring to a boil then reduce to low boil until tender. Peel and slice.
- Grilled – Slice beets in 1/4 inch slices. Toss with olive oil, salt and pepper. Grill on medium for 15 to 20 minutes until soft.
- Raw- Peel and grate the beets for salads, toppings on dishes.
- 1 lb. beets, peeled and grated
- 4 sticks celery, finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons apple juice
- 1 tablespoon apple-cider vinegar
- 4 scallions, finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- sea salt and pepper to taste
- Mix beets and celery with apple juice.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the remaining ingredients.
- Toss the celery and beets with half of the liquids.
- The drizzle the remaining liquids over the salad.
- Chill for 2 hours.
This raw beet drink is from the book,”Raw” by Charlie Trotter and needs a juicer or a vita-mix in order to make it. I found the ingredients intriguing and deliciously refreshing.
Red Beet, Strawberry, and Apple Drink
1 cup chopped, peeled red beets
2 cups strawberries, hulled
1 small fuji apple, skin on, cored, and cut into eights
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice.
Put the beets, strawberries, and apple through a juicer or mixer and then stir in the lime juice.
More recipes: Look here for Roasted Beets with Garlic Sauce
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